Installing a drop ceiling is an easy thing to do and with a few hand tools you can turn your basement into a livable space.
Most people may choose a drop ceiling over a conventional drywall ceiling because it adds some decoration while also hiding the joists of the floor above but there are a few reasons that you should consider this option other then for plain aesthetics.
For the most part the design of your homes mechanical systems will be fed throughout the joists of your first floor. You will see hot and cold water feed lines and heating ducts if you have forced hot air and if your circuit breaker is located in your basement you will see lots of wiring.
Now once everything is installed and working most of the time you will not be worrying about adding new sinks or electrical outlets but there are some times when having ready access to your mechanicals is necessary.
Turning off outside water feeds to your hose bibs in the fall.
Turning on and off the gas feed for your Gas Fireplace.
Plumbing Clean-outs and supply shutoff valves.
Vent dampers in your Heating Ducts.
There are probably a handful of other reasons you will need to access this area on an ongoing basis and for this reason installing a drywall ceiling is not always the best option. If for aesthetic reasons you decide that drywall is what you want please check our other HowTos on installing drywall access panels.
So, now that we have decided to install a drop ceiling lets look at the tools that we will need.
The tools you will need.
Only a few basic tools are needed to install a drop ceiling.
You will need a level of some type: Carpenters Level, Laser Level , Water Level
Hammer and Nails
Drill and Drill Bits
Pop Rivet Gun
Aviation Tin Snips
String Line and Clips
Step Ladder – Two if you have them
Box Cutter with Breakable Tips
Straight Edge or Carpenters Square
Paint Brush and latex paint to match your tile color
If you have recessed tiles that will extend through the openings you will also need a special tile profile cutter which costs under $10 or you can do your best with your box cutter. It is well worth the $10 though to purchase this tool.
From time to time you may need other general tools but for the most part this is all you will need to get started.
As stated having 2 step ladders is a good idea so you can rest your rails on top while you install them but at least 1 will be necessary just so you can reach your working area easily.